Whew! What’s that smell? Is it you? No, can’t be. You smell like a skunk! Ever heard these words before? Hopefully you haven’t, but chances are you know at least one person that has or maybe you or your pet was sprayed. Regardless, you know how strong skunk odor is and just how difficult it is to get rid of.
You may never have a need for the following information; however, you might want to keep it around just in case.
Using tomato juice to remove skunk odor is an old wives’ tale that just does not work. Tomato juice only seems to work because at high doses of skunk spray the human nose quits smelling the odor (olfactory fatigue). When this happens, the tomato juice odor is the only detectable smell.
A person suffering olfactory fatigue to skunk spray will swear that the skunk odor is gone and was neutralized by the tomato juice. However, seek a second opinion! Asking someone else to take a whiff will readily confirm the tomato juice has not neutralized the skunk spray.
If your home has been skunked, or a pet has brought in the skunk smell, wash all sprayed clothes and fabrics immediately. The good news is that the odor will eventually go away, but may take several weeks.
To remove the scent, Rainbow International® Restoration and Cleaning recommends cleaning the area with a direct spray contamination containing a mixture of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide (one quart) with ¼ cup baking soda and one teaspoon of liquid soap or dishwashing detergent if the affected area is durable and colorfast.
Treating fabrics with an additional mixture before your regular laundry detergent may help as well, and household cleaning sprays and products like Febreeze can be effective against skunk smell on furniture.
For buildings, decks, etc., we suggest using a solution of liquid laundry Clorox® bleach, 1 cup of bleach per gallon of water will work. CAUTION – THIS MAY BLEACH THE BUILDINGS, DECKS, ETC. Try it on a small area if bleaching may be a problem.
The bleach must come in contact with the spot where the secretion was sprayed, and repeated applications may be necessary for large amounts of skunk spray. It will not work for skunk spray that has drifted over a large area or is trapped in a house. Time and adequate ventilation will help in this case. PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS ON PETS.
If home remedies aren’t working you might consider contacting a professional restoration firm that should be able to expedite the odor removal.